In addition to the important news itself, a good Sunday paper is a combination of the smart, the useful and the fun. We employed that same trio as our mantra in seeking out items for this year’s holiday gift guide for journalists.
JOURNAL OF THE MONTH — $132 for 12 journals
Expand horizons — and find some good reading — with a subscription to this unique service that drops the literary likes of The Iowa Review, Creative Nonfition and Ploughshares in your mailbox. Quarterly? Monthly? The frequency is your call. You’ll get a different one every time and you can block out those you already subscribe to.
LATW AUDIO PLAYS — Downloads for $5, CDs for $30
Books on tape are great, but let’s face it, for many there’s a tendency to reach for the fast-forward button. That’s not an issue with the riveting — and usually two hours or under — recordings by L.A. TheatreWorks. Among the offerings of particular interest to journalists: “I Was Very Hungry: A Portrait of M.F.K. Fisher,” starring Ann Archer as the acclaimed food writer; “This Town,” Sidney Blumenthal’s D.C. satire focused on the Washington Press Corps; “Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers”; and David Auburn’s play “The Columnist.”
Who doesn’t love socks? Who doesn’t expect at LEAST one pair as a gift every December?
JABRA EVOLVE2 BUDS — $269
There are earbuds, and then there are earbuds. The new Jabra Evolve2 Buds are loaded with features, including active noise cancellation, four mics that work via bone conduction sensing and pro-grade USB connectivity. In layman’s terms, that means you can hear and be heard in the busiest airport or the most raucous press conference. Jabra has been making quality headset/mic combos for decades, and these wireless buds are the next-gen result of all that experience. They’re durable, their battery life is long and they’re compatible with a broad variety of platforms (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco — you name it). Lastly, the fi t of these in-ear buds is unmatched: Jabra used a database that scanned 62,000 pairs of ears to land on these contours.
This rig — complete with a solid light ring with multiple colors and a smartphone clamp for devices up to 3 inches wide — is inexpensive and, yep, truly portable. (It folds down to around 18 inches, and its various components can be disassembled further.) If any part of your gig calls for recording or transmitting a “talking head” shot from the road, this option’s light on the wallet and very easy to use.
If you’ve been in the journalism game for a while, odds are pretty good you’ve got some files in dead formats — like floppy disks. If you’re trying to retrieve those writing samples from the end of the Clinton administration, there are a number of USB devices out there that can (hopefully) read those files. Be advised: These devices can be fussy, and floppies do degrade over time to the point where they’re unreadable.
From Letterform Archive, a nonprofit center for inspiration, education and community, comes this BOLD volume featuring work from W. E. B. Du Bois to Act Up. Not just for for design geeks, the book explores in words and images the way typography has been used in a wide range of printed materials to impact social change.
Remember that time you were trying to take photos with your cell phone while simultaneously recording an interview? This handy device helps avoid such awkwardness. With 750 hours of recording time, voice activation and a clip for your keyring, multitasking just got easier.
A LITTLE WORDY — $15
Any good Scrabble player knows that it’s not just the long words that can score big points. Sometimes, there’s strength in the small. That’s the same for this clever new two-player game. Each player secretly creates a word from a set of letter tiles. The tiles are then scrambled and passed, with each player having to fi gure out what the other one spelled. Need clues? That cuts down on your points.
A tip of the hat to Popular Mechanics for this suggestion: a fullsize, backlit QWERTY keyboard with Bluetooth connectivity that folds down to 4 ½ by 6 ½ inches. It’s a great fi t for those times you need to fi le, edit or send a lengthy email, and your smartphone’s the only option. It’s thin, too, so it really takes up minimal space in your backpack.
MEDIAFEST22 BASEBALL SHIRT — $28.49
Attended SPJ’s convention, MediaFest22, and the only souvenir you brought home is the program? Make up for that with this comfy T-shirt. Long-sleeve shirts, traditional tees, tote bags, mugs and more are also available.
(Note: the prices listed were at time of publication, prices may change over time.)